Blumenthal: NHIN Will Not Share Data With Government Agencies

During a recent Health IT Standards Committee meeting, National Coordinator for Health IT David Blumenthal denied allegations that a framework for the proposed national health information network would make it easier for data to be transmitted to government agencies, such as the CIA or Department of Justice, Modern Healthcare reports.

Blumenthal said that rumors have been circulating in the blogosphere that the National Information Exchange Model, “because it is a government-developed mechanism for generating standards and implementation specifications, might make it easier for health information to be transmitted, or might make it inevitable that it is transmittable to the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, the [National Security Agency] — I don’t know where else.”

Blumenthal said, “And the answer to that question is absolutely no.” He added that the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT would not participate in a standards development process that led to such an occurence.

ONC is testing NIEM as a framework for developing consensus on standards and implementation specifications necessary to achieve interoperability. NIEM originally was designed to create collaboration among law enforcement and national security agencies.

ONC is testing NIEM with the development of NHIN Direct, an ONC project aimed at developing specifications for simple health data exchange activities to help less technologically advanced health care providers perform basic health information sharing required under the federal electronic health record incentive program.